If you’d got into some serious marketing on Instagram two or three years ago, chances are you’d have made quite a bit of money. As long as you’d done it right, as we all know it’s also very, very easy to waste time and money on any sort of online marketing. Yet those who really cracked it made serious amounts of money, running literally thousands of accounts with even more followers. Briefly there it was the online money making paradise, yes Instagram was that great – huge number of users and very little policing of online marketers.
Of course, that changed pretty much as soon as I started with the platform! After noticing that none of the people under 30 seemed to be using Facebook anymore, I discovered one of the sites they were using was Instagram. It started out as a photo sharing site and has developed into a fully fledged social network. What’s more it’s perfect for promoting businesses, products and services through images and videos. There’s no real surprise that it was briefly a real gold mine for online entrepreneurs.
Indeed it still is to some extent but there’s one aspect which has got much, much harder for Instagram marketers – the ability to grow your accounts. To be more specific, it’s really the ability to artificially both grow accounts and manage multiple Instagram profiles too. It was very simple, there were only the most basic IP address checks which were easily circumvented. Plenty of people I know were managed dozens of really large accounts with very little thought and effort with regards hiding their tracks.
That’s all changed now and you have to be very, very careful if you’re trying to build multiple accounts on Instagram now. Using a basic multi-homed proxy server with a couple of IP addresses isn’t going to hack it anymore. Instagram have seriously upped their game to block marketing companies and agencies who operate any sort of self promotion on their platform. There are several aspects now to Instagram marketing but probably the most crucial is which proxies you use.
For most purposes proxies with basic off the shelf datacentre IP addresses are not going to work anymore. This is unfortunate as they are the easiest and cheapest to obtain. Most marketers now who use Instagram on any scale, use proxies with residential addresses and you still have to be careful. Loading up an Instagram Bot Free trial with a fifty accounts and using a couple of residential IP addresses isn’t going to work either. You may get away with it for a little while, following and liking other peoples photos but if you try posting you’ll get actions blocks and your account banned very quickly.
The ratios change all the time, but current testing seems to suggest that anything above a one to one ratio isn’t going to work out well. That means that one residential IP address per one Instagram account, which is unfortunately quite an expensive resource. If you’re going to use any sort of Bot or Instagram marketing tool like Jarvee for instance then you’ll need to load up the software with proxies before you start. It’s especially important when posting or creating accounts, and aggressive spamming on Instagram doesn’t work in any circumstances any more.
There are other considerations when choosing the right proxies and it’s worth just being aware of them. Some people are tempted to use rotating proxies because they help lower the cost of buying large amounts of residential IP addresses. The problem with this is that it does’t look natural especially if the addresses are registered in vastly different locales. Imagine that you post an item on a European IP address, two minutes later your account follows a few people while connected via a New York based address – does that look natural to you? It’s unlikely to work, also you have to be careful that these IP addresses are not shared concurrently with thousands of users. The problem is that it would be likely that some of them would be using Instagram too – which would be a huge red flag on your accounts.
It’s debatable now if all the time, effort and expense is really worth it on Instagram at the moment. Some marketers have figured out options that make it feasible, some for example are only using 4G IP addresses which seem to be much more forgiving. There is a certain expectation that mobile users IP addresses will change more often which is of course the case. Again finding an inexpensive source of these addresses is difficult though so you need high value Instagram accounts.
The reality is that Instagram know they can’t stop all marketers without actually blocking real users. However what their intention is to to make it so difficult and expensive that few people bother, which seems to be happening.